Hat Types: the Casque

 Casque | Royal Hats

After receiving a number inquires about Crown Princess Mary’s hat yesterday, I thought it was time for a closer look at the rarely seen casque hat.

History: During the 15th and 16th centuries, royal and noble men donned ornately decorated helmets (usually without a visor) called “casques” for protection in battle. When the calot hat came into fashion for women in the 1920s, a variation of this style spun off- calot hats were closely fitting caps perched on the back of the wearer’s head but this new variation wrapped around the head to frame the wearer’s face. As the style resembles a sort of feminine helmet, it became known as the casque. Casques resurged in popularity during the 1950s.

Characteristics: A close fitting cap or helmet that extends from the back of the head to frame the  wearer’s face. Often trimmed with feathers or leaves, casques have no visor or brim.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Princesses in the 1950s. We seldom see this hat shape on royals today.

Royal Casques (and variations on a casque):

 Queen Elizabeth, October 19, 1957 | Royal Hats Princess Máxima, April 30, 2009 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats Crown Princess Mary, September 17, 2014 | Royal Hats Princess Tessy, June 23, 2013 | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth, October 19, 1957; Princess Máxima in Fabienne Delvigne, April 30, 2009;
Crown Princess Mary, September 17, 2014; Princess Tessy, June 23, 2013

Princess Margarita, June 16, 2012 | Royal Hats Princess Margaret, June 17, 1952 | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, 1969 | Royal Hats Princess Beatrix, 1958 | Royal Hats

Princess Margarita, June 16, 2012; Princess Margaret, June 17, 1952;
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother in 1969; Princess Beatrix in 1958 

   Princess Maxima, April 15, 2011 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Elizabeth, 1963 | Royal Hats Princess Clotilde of Savoy, May 22, 2004 | Royal Hats

Princess Maxima in Fabienne Delvigne, April 15, 2011; Queen Mathilde in Fabienne Delvigne, Oct 11, 2016;
Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth in 1963; Princess Clotilde of Savoy, May 22, 2004 

I am afraid that the casque hat is not on my list of favourite hat styles (and is not likely to be added). It is very difficult to wear such a close fitting hat without looking like one is wearing a helmet, although I do concede that the way the casque frames a royal face can be very pretty. What do you think of the casque hat style for royal millinery?

Photos from Bettman via Corbis, Julian Parker and Sonia Recchia via Getty; Albert Nieboer via Corbis; Patrick van Katwijk via Monarchy Press; Getty Images; Joan Williams via The Daily Mail; Keystone/Stringer via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via Dutch Photo Press; Photonews,via Getty; Press Association via The Daily Mail; and Getty Images/Stringer

Hat Types: The Fascinator

Fascinator | Royal Hats

History: Since ancient times, women have been adorning their hair with ribbons, pearls, and feathers. These hair ornaments came into a Renaissance of sorts during the 18th-century in Europe. Women in the court of Louis XVI (1774-1791) wore ‘poufs au sentiments’ – large hairpieces that displayed ostrich feathers, butterflies, fruit, model ships, animals, jewels or whatever else struck the wearer’s fancy. During the 19th century, these hair embellishments decreased substantially in size and were replaced with bonnets and hats with much less elaborate trimmings.

The term ‘fascinator’ first appeared in America in the 1860s in reference to a lacy, light-weight, loosely-knitted  shawl worn over the head. When cocktail hats were introduced in the 1930s, they brought small feathered headpieces back into fashion. During the 1960s, it became fashionable to affix a veiled, feathered, bowed or beaded comb to one’s beehive hairstyle instead of wearing a full hat.

Embed from Getty Images
Lady Gabriella Windsor in 18th century costume for a ball at Kensington Palace, July 1, 2000

A second Renaissance for the fascinator was introduced in the early 1990s by London-based milliners Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy. By 2000, fascinators were seen on countless catwalks, the popular TV show “Sex And the City”, at the Ascot Races and on a number of royal heads. While the popularity of fascinators now seesm to be on the decline, you will still see them perched on heads at occasions where hats were traditionally worn- weddings, christenings, National Days, major royal events etc. The one place you will not see a fascinator is in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot- the dress code adopted in 2012 requires that all hat alternatives have base diameter size of 4 inches. For a fantastic history of the fascinator from the 13th century to current day, refer to this article at V is for Vintage.

Characteristics: A large hair decoration on a band, clip or comb usually with elaborate trimmings (feathers, ribbons, flowers, bows etc.). Like a cocktail hat, fascinators are usually worn perched on the top or side of the head and do not fully cover the wearer’s head. Unlike a cocktail hat, a fascinator does not have a large base.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Almost everyone:

The Duchess of Cornwall, May 6, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog  Crown Princess Mette Marit, June 20, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon Parma, August 27, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Mabel, October 20, 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog

The Duchess of Cornwall, May 6, 2006; Crown Princess Mary, April 14, 2011; Crown Princess Mette Marit, June 20, 2006; Princess Maria Carolina, August 27, 2011; Princess Mabel, October 20, 2010

Princess Eugenie, June 17, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Irene, October 5, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth, May 17, 2008 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Marilène, October 5, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Michael of Kent, June 8, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Eugenie, June 17, 2006; Princess Irene, October 5, 2013; Queen Elizabeth, May 17, 2008;
Princess Marilène, October 5, 2013Princess Michael of Kent, June 8, 2013

 Princess Mathilde, April 30, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Silvia, May 21, 2007 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Tatiana, April 14, 2011; Princess Mathilde, April 30, 2006;
Queen Silvia, May 21, 2007; 

Zara Phillips, November 2, 2009 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Sofia, April 29, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Máxima, April 13, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Margriet; September 16, 2008 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Alexandra, June 23, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Zara Phillips, November 2, 2009; Queen Sofia, April 29, 2011; Princess Máxima, April 13, 2011; 
Princess Margriet; September 16, 2008; Princess Alexandra, June 23, 2013

I hope this clears up any confusion between a cocktail hat and a fascinator (the mainstream press often gets this wrong). As you can see from the parade of fascinators above, these headpieces come in all shapes, sizes, colours and materials and are limited only by the imagination of the designer. My favourite royal fascinator is the one Crown Princess Mary wore for the christenings of her four children… although like a moth to a flame, I am inexplicably drawn to the Philip Treacy black looped and feathered extravaganza on Zara Phillips above. What is your favourite royal fascinator?

Photos from Tim Graham and Antony Jones/Brendan Bierne/ UK Press via Getty; Pascal LaSegretain/Getty via Zimbio; Antony Jones via Getty; Britta Pederson/EPA/Corbis; Patrick van Katwijk via DPPAnwar Hussein  via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via DPPAnwar Hussein via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via DPP; Wakeham via CorbisBauer Griffin via Zimbio; Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert and Chris Jackson via Getty; Sean Gallup and Robert Prezioso/Getty via Zimbio; Reuters; Associated Press via Sulekha; Patrick van Katwijk aand Patrick van Katwijk via Dutch Photo Press 

Hat Types: The Cocktail

Cocktail | Royal Hats

History: Daytime hats were de rigueur for women in the 1930s, except for more formal late afternoon events (art openings, cocktail parties, tea dances etc.) when a daytime hat just did not work with a cocktail dress. When Hollywood costume designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Mr. John paired a new, smaller hat with cocktail dresses in several movies, women of fashion around the world eagerly followed suit. Cocktail hats reached the height of their popularity during the 1950s.

These early cocktail hats were small hats worn perched on the top or the side of the head (often, with a veil). While cocktail hats were much smaller than a regular daytime hat, they were still a real hat, made on a real hat form; cocktail hats had a base and could sit on the head, held in place by nothing more than a traditional hatpin. Today, the form and size of cocktail hats have not changed but they are no longer restricted to wear only in the late afternoon.

Characteristics: A small, brimless hat with a visible, fully formed base (usually made of straw, fabric or felt). Cocktail hats are still usually worn perched on the top or side of the head and do not fully cover the wearer’s head. Most cocktail hats are embellished with dramatic trim (feathers, flowers, bows etc.). Fascinators, in comparison, do not have a visible base, as you will see at this post. 

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Everyone! Empress Michiko of Japan’s entire current millinery wardrobe follows this hat style. We also see cocktail hats regularly on the Duchess of Cambridge, the Countess of Wessex, Zara Phillips Tindall and Princess Beatrice of York.

Princess Michicko, August 25, 2007 | The Royal Hats Blog Lady Serena Armstrong-Jones, June 19, 2012 The Royal Hats Blog The Duchess of Cornwall, May 2, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog Archduchess Adelaide, September 21, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Empress Michiko, August 2007;  Viscountess Linley,June 2012, the Duchess of Cornwall, May 2012; Archduchess Adelaide, Sep. 2013

Queen Máxima, Nov. 19 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog May 17, 2008 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Oct. 14 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog The Duchess of Cambridge, July 1, 2011 in Silvia Fletcher for Lock & Co. | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Beatrice, April 15, 2012 in Gina Foster | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Máxima, Nov. 2013; Lady Gabriella Windsor, June 1999; Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Oct. 2010 ;
The Duchess of Cambridge, July 1, 2011; Princess Beatrice, April 2012 

Autumn Philips, Dec 25, 2012 in Nerida Fraiman | Royal Hats Princess Marie-Chantal, Sep. 20, 2012 in Philip Treacy | The Royal Hats Blog Zara Phillips, March 15, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Máxima, Jan. 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog The Duchess of Kent, April 29, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog

Autumn Phillips, Dec. 2012; Princess Marie-Chantal, Sep. 2012; Zara Phillips, March 2012;
Princess Máxima, Jan. 2013; The Duchess of Kent, April 2011  

Queen Silvia, Sep. 20, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog Mar 31, 2013 in Jane Taylor | Royal Hats Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie, Dec.29, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Laurentien, Nov. 20, 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Clothilde, Sep. 20, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Silvia, Sep. 2012; The Countess of Wessex, March 2013; Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie, Dec. 2012;
Princess Laurentien, Nov. 2010; Princess Clothilde, Sep. 2012  

I am a fan of the cocktail hat, mainly because it’s a way we see a little bit of millinery craziness on our beloved royal heads. Cocktail hats pack a lot of style punch into a small hat and while some of them do look silly, I think most of them are marvelous. If you look closely at the base of this famous hat, you will see it is a cocktail hat and not a fascinator, as the mainstream media would have us believe.

Princess Beatrice, April 29, 2011 in Philip Treacy | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Beatrice in THAT hat designed by Philip Treacy, April 29, 2011

We will look at fascinators next week and clarify the difference between the fascinator and the cocktail hat. For now- what do you think of cocktail hats?

Photos from Michael Steel via Getty; Wire Image via The Daily MailBauer Griffin and Pascal Le Segretain via Zimbio; Dutch Photo PressThe Royal ForumsSvenskdamBauer Griffin and Chris Jackson via Zimbio; Chris Jackson via Getty; Sean Gallup/Getty via Zimbio; Julian Parker via GettyDutch Photo Press; Chris Jackson via Getty; Sean Gallup/Getty via Zimbio; Mark Cuthbert via Getty; Abaca via PurePeople; Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Sean Gallup/Getty via Zimbio and Ian Gavan via Getty

Hat Types: The Bowler

Bowler | Royal Hats

History: The bowler (also known as a bob hat, derby, billycock or bombín) was originally created in 1849 for the Edward and William Coke, the younger brothers of the 2nd Earl of Leicester.  The Coke brothers wanted a new style of hat for the gamekeepers on the family estate (Holkam Hall), whose top hats were easily knocked off and damaged during the course of their work. The Coke brothers came up with a new design and placed an order for these new hats from Lock & Co. who in turn, commissioned London hat-makers Thomas and William Bowler to make them.  In accordance with Lock & Co.’s usual practice, the hat was called the “Coke” hat after the customers who had ordered it. (Some of you might recognize Lock & Co., a company that remains in business today and is a favourite milliner of the Duchess of Cambridge).

This new hat, which turned out to be extremely strong and durable, soon became popular with the Victorian era English working class. It later gained popularity with the middle and upper classes and for many years, defined British civil servants and bankers. Bowlers are still worn by male members of the British Royal Family although the hat shape is also used for royal hats worn by the ladies.

Characteristics: Traditionally, a bowler is hard felt hat with a rounded crown. The narrow, rolled brim is typically curled up on the sides of the hat. Today, bowler hats for women are also made of straw or covered in fabric.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: The British Royal Men wear bowler hats every May for the annual Cavalry Old Comrades Association Annual Parade in Hyde Park. Queen Sonja of Norway and the Princesses in the Imperial Royal Family of Japan also often choose variations on a bowler hat.

King George V, 1923 | The Royal Hats Blog Prince William and Prince Harry, May 13, 2007 | The Royal Hats Blog Prince Charles, May 9, 2010 | The Royal Hats Blog

King George VI in 1923; Princes William & Harry in May 2007; Prince Charles in May 2010

Queen Silvia, 1980s | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Elizabeth 1984 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Marilène, December 2004 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Silvia during the 1980s; Queen Elizabeth in 1984, Princess Marilène in 2004

Crown Princess Mette Marit, Feb 2, 2002 | The Royal Hats Blog Princess Martha Louise, April 12, 2001 | The Royal Hats blog Queen Sonja, Sep 9, 2004 | The Royal Hats Blog

Crown Princess Mette Marit, Feb 2, 2002; Princess Martha Louise, April 12, 2001;
Queen Sonja, Sep 9, 2004

Princess Kiko, April 25, 2006 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Sonja,Oct. 3, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Masako, Oct. 13, 2013 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Kiko, April 25, 2006; Queen Sonja,Oct. 3, 2011;
Crown Princess Masako, Oct. 13, 2013

While the classic bowler is not a popular shape for female royal hats these days, you may notice that many smaller royal hats are a version of it simply with tweaks to the brim. Because not all occasions warrant a large hat, the bowler provides an option for a smaller profile hat that still looks very smart. I’m curious, dear readers, what you think about the bowler hat and it’s long, working history?

Photos from The Shoe Aristocrat Blog; Tim Graham/Getty via US Magazine; Christopher Pledger via the Telegraph; Stella Pictures via Svenskdam; David Levinson via Corbis; PurePeopleAntony Jones/Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert/ via Getty; UK Press via Getty; Antony Jones via Getty; Pool via Corbis; Ragnar Singsaas via ZimbioAsahi Shimbun via Asahi Digital

Hat Types: The Toque

Toque | Royal Hats

During our recent look at the classic pillbox hat, readers Barbara and Louisa May asked some questions about the “toque” style of hat. Through this conversation, I came to understand the toque not only as a unique style of hat but also as the answer to our turban-pillbox hat mystery!

History: As I understand, toque hats were a brimless hat widely worn by men in Europe between the 13th and 16th centuries (see here and see here).  After falling out of fashion, the toque style morphed into what we know as a chef’s hat today. During the Edwardian era (1900-1910), the toque regained popularity as a hat for women. Edwardian toques were usually adorned with spiky hussar plumes or puffs of ostrich feather.

Characteristics: A brimless hat that sits off the face.  Although the sides of a toque fairly straight, the crown shape of a toque is usually rounded or peaked on one side. Toques characteristically look as though they were made of wrapped fabric or straw. This pleated or ruched look makes them resemble a voluminous turban although their shape is closer to that of a rounded pillbox. Traditionally, a calot hat sits back, tightly fitting to the crown of the wearer’s head while a toque sits forward on the top of the head.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Queen Mary adopted this hat style during the Edwardian period and continued wearing it for 30 years (a marvellous newspaper article about this can be read here). Today, Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde and their Belgian hat designer Fabienne Delvigne have revived this style in a version worn back further off the face.

 Queen Mary, 1932 | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Mary, 1935 | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Mary, 1937 | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Mary, 1937 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Mary in 1932, during her Silver Jubilee in 1935, and at coronation events in 1937

Queen Elizabeth,1978| The Royal Hats Blog Princess Astrid, 1999 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Paola, 2001 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Margrethe, Dec. 12, 2013 | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth,1978; Princess Astrid, 1999; Queen Paola, 2001; Queen Margrethe, 2013

Duchess of Gloucester, March 3, 2007 | The Royal Hats Blog 2005-10-28 Nelson's 200th anniversaryR Lady Helen Taylor, June 14, 2014 in Stephen Jones | Royal Hats

Duchess of Gloucester, 2007;  The Duchess of Cornwall in 2005;
Queen Máxima, 2013; Lady Helen Taylor in 2014

Here is Fabienne Delvigne’s revived toque hat variation, still voluminous but worn further back off the face:

For months we have debated if Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde’s hats were turbans or pillboxes and I hope this answer provides some clarity. My sincere thanks goes out to readers Barbara and Louisa May whose questions and suggestion made me research further into what a toque really was. I am so curious what the rest of you think about the toque, both as Queen Mary wore it and during its royal revival this year?

Photos from Topical Press Agency, Popperfoto, and Popperfoto via Getty
Corbis; Photonews via Getty; The Royal Forums; Jens Astrup via Berlingske
Mark Cuthbert via Getty;  Tim Graham via Getty; Patrick Katwijk via Dutch Photo PressMax Mumby/Indigo via Getty;